Jump to content


participating member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by sartoric

  1. I think it would work fine. When presented with missing ingredients and possible substitutes, I say to myself “what would an impoverished Indian do” ?..and then use whatever is available.
  2. Tamil eggplant & chickpea curry - recipe is from a restaurant run by a group of Tamil (Sri Lankan) asylum seekers in Melbourne. The eggplant is chopped, mixed with turmeric and salt, then lightly fried and removed, sauté mustard, fennel and cumin seeds, add onions, garlic and chilli, a can of chickpeas and it’s liquid, the eggplant and tamarind paste. Garnish with coriander. Next to it is a mallum (mallung, or some other spelling) of kale. Another Sri Lankan dish, almost any green leafy veggie can be mallumed. In a saucepan put finely chopped onion, chopped leafy green of choice, chopped green chilli, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp Maldive fish powder, salt and juice of half a lemon. Moisten with water if necessary, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or so, then add a few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut. This dish works well cold as a salad too. Seen here with some of yesterday’s dal, ghee rice and a blob of pickle.
  3. This is not a curry but there are exotic and aromatic spices ! The potato masala makes a great side dish too. Masala dosa is a traditional South Indian breakfast pancake stuffed with potato masala, and served alongside sambar (a soupy lentil and vegetable dish) and several fresh chutneys. We don’t eat breakfast at home but love this, so it often becomes a dinner time meal. The dosa batter is made from urad dal (skinned and split black lentils) and rice. Both grains are soaked overnight with a few fenugreek seeds, then blended until smooth, mixed and left to ferment for eight hours or so. It’s not warm enough for fermentation here yet, so I cheat and use a packet mix. The dosa get cooked on a tawa, a brilliant pan for pancakes, chapatis or paratha. The potato masala is made by frying off a tsp of channa dal, urad dal, mustard seeds and 10 or so curry leaves, then chopped onion, green chilli and grated ginger. Peeled and chopped potatoes are added with turmeric, salt and water. Simmer until cooked then stir through chopped coriander. Sambar can be made with almost any veggies on hand, today that was carrot, okra and green beans. I fry a few mustard seeds, then curry leaves, a little chopped onion, garlic and ginger, then add chopped tomatoes, the veggies, water and cooked toor dal. Simmer until the carrot is just tender and add sambar powder. Sambar powder (technically a curry powder) is available at any decent Asian grocer, mine contains coriander, chilli, turmeric, fenugreek, asafoetida, curry leaf and three types of dal. I make a trillion variations of this soup, it’s great for a light lunch served with toast. If you don’t have cooked lentils on hand, split red lentils (masoor dal) or split mung beans (mung dal) both cook quickly and add the desired thickness. The traditional chutneys are coconut, tomato and coriander. Seen here from right to left. The packet dosa mix broke up a bit, it’s more difficult to handle than one made from scratch...still tasty !
  4. Note the Indian address is Bombay, that puts it pre 1995 !
  5. I remember my mum making curry with leftover roast meat, curry powder, apples and sultanas ! This was in the 1970’s when the Australian diet largely consisted of meat and three veg, so very adventurous.
  6. @David Ross expressed an interest in side dishes......here’s one of my favourite dals. I used 1.5 cups of chana dal (skinned and split chickpeas) washed in several changes of water then brought to a boil with about a 2cm covering of water. Once boiling I skim scum, lower the heat and add half a chopped onion and half a tsp of turmeric, cover the pot and simmer for about an hour. I like them to hold a bit of shape, but still turn creamy if you stir enough. These are nearly ready. The mise for seasoning. In the dish black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida, curry leaves, dried Kashmiri chillis (you can use any dried chilli, these are my current favourite), chopped tomatoes, red onion, garlic, ginger and baby spinach. I heat a combination of ghee and mustard oil (about 3 tbs total) and throw in the asafoetida, then mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and broken chillies. Have a lid handy the curry leaves will spatter and try to escape. Then in go the onions until soft and beginning to brown, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. I give this about 5 minutes until the tomatoes soften, add the spinach and a lid to steam it for a few minutes. Pour the seasoning into the dal add salt to taste, a pinch of chilli powder and a few grinds of black pepper, simmer for a few minutes to meld the flavours. This keeps well in the fridge for several several days and goes with most Indian meals. Seen here with mushroom balti, green beans poriyal, steamed rice and my favourite and ever present tomato chutney.
  7. Saffron is used in India, the Hindi word is kesar, or in Tamil kungumappu. Kashmir is said to grow the finest saffron in the world.. I’ve seen it used in many sweetmeats and have a recipe for saffron rice cooked by dum, a process of sealing the pot with a coil of dough to create a tight seal, traditionally with coals placed on top of the pot, now in an oven.
  8. Wow, a great insight into the cuisine ! Thanks for sharing @shain.
  9. One of the things I like about our almost exclusively Indian diet is how the various dishes work so well together, and therein lies the ability to make a quick meal out of leftovers. I always cook a dish in quantity to serve 4 or more and keep the remainder in the fridge for up to four days. So when things get hectic and you’re scrambling to get a meal ready in short order, it’s easy peasy. This one took maybe 15 minutes....mostly spent frying rice and manning the microwave. The rice was cooked yesterday, in a rice cooker with just a few cardamom pods and cloves. Tonight I spluttered some mustard seeds in ghee, then added urad dal and curry leaves, diced onion, green chilli, and a pinch of turmeric, the cooked rice and stirred for several minutes to break up any lumps, then defrosted peas stirring until hot, and finished with chopped fresh coriander. It’s served with chicken and fenugreek curry from a few days ago, mallum made with Tuscan cabbage, also from a couple days ago, Kali dal (a black lentil dish) made yesterday and paratha cooked on a tawa. I buy the paratha frozen in a 20 pack, they’re handy when I can’t be bothered or don’t have time for making chapatis. Tawa (pronounced tava) is a fry pan, flat with a tiny lip and very useful for breads like chapatis, paratha and also dosa.
  10. Dinner tonight featured a favourite chicken curry, served with a twice cooked eggplant dish, tarka dal, a blob of Ashoka brand mixed vegetable pickle, basmati rice, paratha and in the centre a dollop of.black cabbage mallum. The curry is Murgh methi / chicken with fenugreek. The recipe is from Meena Pathak Flavours of India. Fenugreek (methi in Hindu) is a complex slightly bitter herbaceous plant. Its very small leaves can be used fresh as you would baby spinach, or dried like in this recipe and the seeds also impart flavour, whether fried off whole, or ground to varying degrees. The fresh leaves are not common here, I’ve bought it once from my Indian grocer friend, and we grew a large pot full...once. The harvest made maybe two meals. The dried stuff and seeds are readily available. The mise. Chopped red onion, chopped tomatoes, turmeric & chilli powder, in the dish below is roughly ground fenugreek seeds & crushed black pepper, then cumin seeds, chopped garlic, grated ginger, chopped green chillies and a pile of dried fenugreek leaves. There’s a separate plate of chicken thigh diced into one inch bits. I have a favourite karhai like pan, it’s deep with a rounded bottom. Medium heat, a splash of vegetable oil then cumin seeds til they splutter, onions for a few minutes, garlic and green chilli til the onions take on brown edges. Add tomatoes, turmeric and chilli powder, salt to taste then sauté til the tomatoes are really mushy. Add ginger, the fenugreek and pepper, plus chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked. Here the recipe adds butter and cream, I don’t, and prefer it without. It’s finished with a good handful of fresh coriander, chopped.
  11. Bet you’re sorry you started this topic. Dinner tonight features a shiitake mushroom curry. There was a lot of mustard gravy made yesterday, so before adding the fish I saved some for another dish, and this is it. I sautéed the sliced fresh shiitakes in butter first, added some mustard gravy, water and double cream, then finished with chopped coriander. The thali style meal included eggplants in tomato gravy (Christine Manfield - Tasting India), tarka dal (Madhur Jaffery - Curry Easy Vegetarian) and Tuscan cabbage in a Sri Lankan mallum (Charmaine Solomon- The Complete Asian Cook Book), spiced basmati rice, a dab of homemade mango chutney and fresh chapatis. Mallum (or Mallung) is served with many Sri Lankan meals, it’s one of the ways Sri Lankan people get their vitamins. Almost any leafy green is simmered with chopped red onion, turmeric powder, ground Maldive fish, chopped green chillies and lemon juice, then thickened with desiccated coconut. You’d think I’d have chapatis down pat after making so many, but they’re still a bit hit and miss, these were 6/10. I’m sure the relative humidity has an impact.
  12. A few of my favourite cook books. The Food of India (recipes by Priya Wickramasinghe and Carol Raja Selva) got me started many years when full time work meant an Indian meal was a weekend event. These recipes always work and many favourite dishes come from this book. The Flavours of India by Meena Pathak, again, many favourites in here. The Bangala Table - we stayed at this heritage property The Bangala back in 2017. The book is co authored by the owner Mrs M, and is a fantastic resource for Chettinad cuisine. They run cooking classes too and have a beautiful open air kitchen. Madhur Jaffery’s Flavours of India concentrates on recipes from Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Punjab, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. I love her book Curry Easy Vegetarian as well, and borrow it from the local library in digital format regularly. There’s more books on a lower shelf, notably Tasting India by Christine Manfield. She’s an Australian chef who has travelled extensively in India. This book is coffee table size and part travelogue, with restaurant and accommodation recommendations, brilliant photos, plus hundreds of authentic, sometimes complex recipes gathered from her time stalking the kitchens...she does this well. I have several Sri Lankan recipe books too, and have no problem incorporating dishes from both countries into one meal. Charmaine Solomon is a favourite who has authored more than 30 cookbooks and deserves a separate post.
  13. Anytime @Darienne, it’s a long flight but you’re more than welcome.
  14. This is a favourite curry featuring tamarind, eggplant and chickpeas. Note the curry leaves, if there’s one thing that makes a curry taste extra special, it’s curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) the tree grows easily here. Served with lemon rice, chickpea flour pancakes, potatoes and pol sambal (a Sri Lankan coconut and chilli relish). The trees, the large one is 3 metres tall and a few years old, the smaller one is a pup. Yes, they produce pups ! My kinda tree.
  15. While we’re talking tamarind, here’s some black tamarind. It’s black because it’s been smoked, lends the typical sour taste, but also a smoky flavour. Used mainly in South Indian cooking, and very sparingly, it’s really strong.
  16. Yep, it’s in there somewhere. I’ll pull out a few of the more unusual ones later.
  17. I think I may have every spice known to man. The pantry has its own spice drawer. My spice dabbah contains mostly seeds, including cumin, mustard, fennel, cloves, cardamom, plus crushed chilli and bay leaves. Then there’s the frequently used spice powders on the bench top, here I keep different masalas (mixed spice blends, usually roasted individually then ground together) with a current library favourite Rick Steins India. I did say obsessed....
  18. Thanks @Okanagancook. Mustard oil is very pungent, I use it frequently though sparingly, and yes it does add an extra flavour layer. Sesame oil (til) is also in my pantry, this is not the dark roasted sesame oil of Chinese cooking, but rather a pale oil from the unroasted seeds. I think the poppy seeds definitely thicken the sauce and probably help to bind the paste. They’re quite common in South Indian dishes. Seeing you asked so nicely, yes, I’ll put a travelogue together on our Indian food experience. We’re staying in a few family run places where I hope to invade the kitchen. There might be a cooking school, and there will definitely be markets !
  19. I made the potato dish and the okra yesterday or day before that...I tend to make a big batch of any given dish and use over a few days. We eat Indian food almost exclusively. It helps that I have a willing kitchen hand.
  20. Ooh, I’m in, thanks @Okanagancook ! This topic is so close to my heart (well perhaps a little lower anatomically). Curry - a word invented by the British and adopted by the Indians. The cuisine is hugely popular in Australia, it’s not unusual to find an Indian restaurant in even a small country town. Tonight I made fish in mustard gravy with fresh mangrove jack, a firm white fleshed fish. The recipe is from a book by Meena Pathak (of the Patak curry paste fame), this soft cover book was found in an op shop, best 50 cents I ever spent. The gravy is made with toasted white poppy seeds crushed in a mortar, then blended to a paste with onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli, cumin, coriander, turmeric powders and mustard seeds. The paste was fried in a little mustard oil, then puréed tomatoes and water added, simmered for 5 minutes then fish chunks added. I finished it with some lime juice and chopped fresh coriander. Seen below and served with lemon ginger rice, dill potatoes, my (well Madhur Jafferys) everyday okra, tarka dal, a blob of cucumber & mint raita and half a paratha. I think there’s about 20 Indian cookbooks on my shelf, plus at least half a dozen books encompassing curries of the world. Charmaine Solomon is a favourite, as is Madhur Jaffery and Christine Manfield. It’s probably not wrong to say we’re obsessed with Indian food, (actually, all things Indian). In exactly six weeks time we should be on final approach into Indira Ghandi Airport New Delhi and ready to eat our way through Rajasthan and the Punjab.
  21. Thanks @KennethT, always great to see your food porn. I badgered our hotel in Seminyak to direct me to a local place for babi gulang. Eventually they relented and told me about a place a few blocks away after a heavily emphasised disclaimer that we might get sick (we didn’t). It was empty, but we ate anyway and enjoyed it immensely.
  22. I make this a lot. Traditionally served with dosa, but great with all kinds of Indian food, even just scooped up with bread or pappads for a snack. Although it's slightly different every time, depending on the tomatoes and chillies used, plus the strength of the tamarind, it's easy, quick to make and always delicious. In a blender - half a medium red onion chopped, 7 dried red chillies broken up a bit, 2 ripe tomatoes chopped, 1 tsp of sea salt, 3 tsp tamarind paste. Whizz until purée like about 2 minutes. In a sauté pan over medium heat add 60 ml sesame oil (gingelly), when it's hot but not smoking add 1 tsp black mustard seeds. Quickly cover the pan to prevent escape and sizzle for a minute. Add 1 tsp of urad dal (black lentils, skinned and split they are light grey). Fry until golden, another minute or so. Throw in about 20 curry leaves. These splatter so cover the pan again. Lower the heat and add the blender contents. Simmer, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, until you get a runny jam consistency. Ta da !
  23. sartoric

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Indian thali #326 Spiced rice with fenugreek chicken curry, stir fried broccolini, potatoes with dill, dal, cucumber & dill raita, plus homemade mango pickle.
  24. Thanks for that, I think I’ve borrowed Curry Easy Vegetarian from the library, err, several times
  25. Thanks for this @Chris Hennes, I cook Indian food every day, mostly vegetarian and I love Madhur Jaffreys recipes. It just so happens that the largest book fair in our city happens this weekend, I’ll be looking out for Vegetarian India.